‘SONNING EYE’ CAP­TOR: “IT’S JUST A FISH. IT’S NO BIG DEAL”...

When Andy Dodd banked the huge mir­ror known as the ‘Sonning Eye’ way back in May 2000, lit­tle did he know he was in­spir­ing a whole new gen­er­a­tion of carp an­glers...

Angling Times (UK) - - CARP LIFE -

“I’d be just as happy putting to­gether a nice bag of roach. It’s stick float fish­ing for bar­bel that re­ally flicks my switch. I go fish­ing for fun.”

BACK in the days be­fore every­body had in­ter­net ac­cess at their fin­ger­tips, the main way to learn about big carp cap­tures was to leaf through An­gling Times.

For those in­tent on track­ing down carp of record-shak­ing pro­por­tions, this of­ten en­tailed cut­ting out the fish’s pic­ture, and then glean­ing as much in­for­ma­tion about the venue in ques­tion be­fore set­ting off on a quest to catch the prized spec­i­men.

When Andy Dodd banked a huge mir­ror weigh­ing 52lb from an un­named Read­ing DAA pit in May 2000, lit­tle did he know it would spark a sim­i­lar scram­ble, with the fish in­stantly mak­ing it on to the ‘most-wanted’ lists of many of the sport’s big­gest names – Terry Hearn and Dave Lane, to name just two.

How­ever, the hype that fol­lowed the pub­li­ca­tion of the pic­ture was com­pletely lost on Andy, an all-rounder who ad­mit­ted he only re­ally went fish­ing ‘for fun’ and was just as likely to be found pole fish­ing for roach as tar­get­ing big carp.

The story of the cap­ture cer­tainly has a fairy­tale qual­ity about it too. In just 25 hours’ fish­ing on the pit (soon iden­ti­fied as Sonning Eye Pit), Andy also caught carp of 41lb, 32lb 12oz, 24lb 4oz and 18lb. Yet he re­fused to get car­ried away with his ex­ploits, as we dis­cov­ered when in­ter­view­ing Andy shortly af­ter the his­toric cap­ture.

He said: “I’m a bit of a weather freak, and what­ever species I’m af­ter I be­lieve the key fea­ture that af­fects catches is the weather.”

Af­ter bank­ing four carp over three pre­vi­ous short evening ses­sions, Andy re­turned to the pit when con­di­tions felt right.

“There was a warm wind ham­mer­ing into a cor­ner of the lake and the wa­ter was churned up and dirty. I filled in the spot with a bucket of ground­bait, stuffed with grilled hemp and whole hemp, and dropped my rig over the top. The carp went berserk. They were drift­ing in and out of the coloured wa­ter and were clearly feed­ing.”

Three hours later Andy re­ceived a scream­ing take and af­ter a four-minute bat­tle, the huge mir­ror was net­ted by Andy’s mate in the di­min­ish­ing light.

He added: “He told me I had a ‘thirty’, but when he tried to lift the net he couldn’t move it. As soon as we got it on the bank I knew it was 50lb.”

De­spite his me­te­oric achieve­ment, Andy stead­fastly re­fused to get car­ried away, say­ing:

“It’s an enor­mous carp and I must ad­mit I was sur­prised at its size. But in the grand scheme of things it’s just a fish. It’s no big deal. I’d be just as happy putting to­gether a nice bag of roach. It’s stick float fish­ing for bar­bel that re­ally flicks my switch. I go fish­ing for fun.”

ABOVE: How An­gling Times re­ported the re­mark­able spring ex­ploits of Andy Dodd on the ‘un­named’ Read­ing DAA gravel pit 17 years ago.

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